Cameron may impose more red tape on employers

At least that’s the implication of this piece in the Telegraph. According to the paper, if Nadia Eweida and Shirley Chaplin lose their case at the European Court of Human Rights, the government would consider legislating to give employees the right to wear religious symbols at work.

I wonder whether the ‘No 10 source’ quoted has thought this through. A legal right to display religious symbols would severely undermine the employer’s right to impose a dress code and would, in some cases, come into conflict with their health and safety policies.

Because, of course, such a right would not simply apply to crosses. It would apply to all religious symbols. And who is to say what is a religious symbol and what counts as a religion or philosophical belief? As I said in yesterday’s post, such a right would cause all sorts of problems for employers.

At the same time as talking about strengthening religious rights in the workplace, the government wants to reduce the general level of employment protection. Such a move would almost certainly see an increase in the number of discrimination claims, which would be unaffected by the Beecroft proposals. Perhaps, in future, the best way to protect your job  might be to ‘get religion’!

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3 Responses to Cameron may impose more red tape on employers

  1. Pingback: Cameron may impose more red tape on employers - Rick - Member Blogs - HR Blogs - HR Space from Personnel Today and Xpert HR

  2. Quite apart from the contradictions between some religious beliefs and the law relating to equalities and hate crime. How does the employer stand if someone wears a ‘symbol’ promoting opposition to gay marriage which offends LGBT staff and constitutes harassment and/or discrimination under the Act?

  3. Annabel Kaye says:

    My personal religion requires the ritual disembowelling of anyone I disagree with and requires the wearing of sharp knives at all material times in case of need. It is known as the frustrated HR religion and we have a significant number of adherents and may yet turn into a global religion.

    Our daily practises and rituals include:
    – the reading of the book (staff handbook)
    – reciting of the policies
    – declaring in public three times, I have no idea what is happening

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